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During the late 1800's and into the 1900's many people immigrated to the United States from Europe and Asia in hope of finding prosperity, and a better life than the one they were leading in their old homes. Another reason was the sudden industrialization of Europe. (The transformation from small, agriculture-based societies to manufacturing economies was so rapid and sweeping that it became known as the Industrial Revolution.) With all this occurring so quickly many people decided to come to America, but when they arrived here they didn't get what they expected.

More than 12 million people immigrated through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924, the peak years of the port. They came to America hoping to find the "promise land" but from their journey till when they first arrived in America wasn't so promising.

Nearly all of the immigrants faced a terrible trip to the U.S., such as sitting in steerage, not receiving a lot of food or proper medical attention, and being crammed together in a very small area. Along with the bad conditions, the immigrants also faced many prejudices and hardships as they arrived.

Upon arriving in Ellis Island, the immigrants were given a physical examination to see whether or not they were fit to live in the United States. In 1891, Congress created the INS, or Immigration and Naturalization Service to administer federal laws dealing with admission, exclusion, and deportation of aliens. The overwhelming majority of immigrants, regardless of ethnicity, were subjected to discrimination. They were not given the same opportunities as native born Americans even if they were equally qualified for certain jobs.

Ellis Island though, wasn't nearly as bad as its counterpart on the west coast, Angel Island. Generally on Ellis Island, immigrants were processed within hours or days, but on Angel Island it took weeks or even months. It soon turned into a detention center and because of its proximity towards Asia it consisted mostly of Asians, predominantly of Chinese descent.

Many laws and acts were passed over the course of several years when the immigrants started filtering in more and more in order to limit the amount of people that came from various countries. Quotas were set for the number of people coming to the U.S. from a certain



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